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Confused about Smartphones
Old 11-05-2015, 05:32 PM   #1
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Confused about Smartphones

Up till now, I've been getting along perfectly well without a smartphone. I just haven't needed to carry a computer around with me. The car has navigation, and we have old cell phones to make calls with. We are not interested in playing games or watching videos on a tiny screen.

We will be taking a business trip out-of-state soon, and will need mobile Internet access. Therefore, I have decided to order "pay as you go" smartphones. A co-worker recommended TING for pay-as-you-go 4G GSM service (all the areas we will be visiting, support 4G GSM). No need to buy the latest and best device, but no reason to buy junk, either.

From browsing, I gather that the Android OS is the way to go (I have no clue about versions). The more "cores" (e.g. quad core), the better. Minimum specs seem to be >1 Ghz processor, >512 MB RAM, AMOLED display >250 ppi, Gorilla Glass screen, >1500 mAH battery.

TING has a wide variety of new and refurbished phones, and they supply a SIM card. I am still confused by the choices and claims. A nice customer service guy tried to help, but we didn't really communicate, which I'm sure is due to my ignorance. This is what I'm thinking of getting...anyone have any suggestions or cautions? Is this a decent deal? Is a refurbished phone risky?

https://ting.com/shop/Samsung-Galaxy...e-Refurbished-

Thanks,

Amethyst
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:38 PM   #2
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Can't comment about a refurbished phone as I don't own a smartphone.

I had a similar choice as you as going on a trip in the upcoming months and contemplating staying in touch, checking emails, social media by getting that new $49 Fire tablet from Amazon. But after thinking things over, I decided to just lug a laptop .

Good luck with your smartphone search.
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:39 PM   #3
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Amethyst, you picked a winner. I've owned a Galaxy S III for two years and it has been an excellent phone.

I have no experience with Ting but know a couple of people who use it and are very happy with the service.

Oh, and welcome to the late 20th Century.
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:44 PM   #4
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Ting uses Sprint's network for CDMA and T-Mobile for GSM. Not a big fan of the Galaxy S3 and S4. Way too bloated. For being flagship devices, I find them to be less responsive and laggier than a cheap Moto G (2012, 1st gen) running stock Android.

If looking for an inexpensive GSM Android smartphone, my recommendation is the Moto G (2015, 3rd gen)
https://ting.com/shop/Motorola-Moto-...w-GSM-External
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:55 PM   #5
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We use airvoicewireless (AT&T's network). We have the $10/month plans. Voice is 4c a minute, texts 2c each and date is 6.6c/mb. Usually $10 is fine given our modest use but if we are traveling we sometimes have to add money occasionally.

They offer a Samsung Galaxy S3 (new, not refurbished) for $190. IIRC I think that includes a SIM card.

I have a Galaxy S2 and have been very happy with it. DW has a Galaxy Express and she has been happy with that.

Samsung Galaxy SIII - Airvoice Wireless
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Old 11-05-2015, 06:23 PM   #6
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I had a hard time parting with my flip phone, and then it broke which forced me to go smartphone. Boy, I didn't know what I was missing; the world opened up. I don't think you can go wrong with any android phone. I would avoid windows simply due to the poor market %. Even an inexpensive refurb will blow your mind. You are going to have some fun after the initial week or so.
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Old 11-05-2015, 06:32 PM   #7
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I had a Galaxy SII until this summer then upgraded to the Galaxy S5 (I felt it was the better option for me than the latest S6). I'm not sure what the S3 comes with in the way of android but hopefully it's 4.4 at least. The battery life may not be the greatest on 4G. Don't know that much about the Moto G but it comes with Android 5.1 a plus IMHO.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:07 PM   #8
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Just got my Galaxy S6 Edge and decided to buy 64GB since everytime I had to install factory updates on my Galaxy S4, I had to delete apps and files. There is so many apps on the 32GB that take up so much unnecessary memory.


Not only do I have more space on my G4GB but the battery does not drain as fast as the S4.


I went to a Smartphone 3 years ago from a regular cell phone. How did I live without a smartphone? These things are mini computers that will do everything for you. Even something as minor as needing a light, mirror or magnifying glass when you can't read that small print. (Army knife app)


I would never go back to a regular phone.
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:12 PM   #9
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I went with the Moto G and Republic Wireless based on posts by Mr. Money Moustache. Dropped the landline simultaneously and couldn't be happier. Mr. MM does a very nice write-up on various phone as well as RW and Ting carriers here:

Republic Wireless: Old Phone, New Phone, and a Tempting Competitor

BTW, smartphones do much more than video games and watching videos (although when my laptop was in the shop, I watched an entire movie on my phone!).

Smartphones make my life miraculously efficient. For example, I ask the phone for the weather every morning to know how to dress, ask it to call people and it does, ask it where places or things are or something I need to know and it tells me instantly. When I was buying my car, they wanted proof of insurance and other docs, so I snapped a pic of my insurance card and attached it to a text (almost nothing to fill out when I went down to get the car--saved hours!). I did a video of my possessions for insurance purposes and exported it to a thumb drive, took pictures of the snake pit of wires behind my stereo when moving it to know what went where upon reassembly. I could go on, but point is all of this eliminated untold hours and extra effort involved in each of these tasks (and more).
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:53 PM   #10
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Ting is a great value if you maximize wifi data usage and use Hangouts (i.e. data) for voice calling and text. I have a Nexus 5 on GSM (T-mobile) and DW has an older iPhone4 on CDMA (Sprint). We share data/voice/text buckets and average about $15-20/mo per phone. I've had a smartphone since 2007. DW since 2010. I can't really imagine life without a smartphone.

OK Google...
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:08 PM   #11
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I recently got my first smartphone via HSN for $100. It an LG Ultimate 2 (Android OS). It's a pay as you go Tracfone and came bundled with one-year card plus 1200 minutes of calling; 1200 minutes of text; and 1200 minutes of data and a car charger. Plus triple minutes/text/data for life. I am very pleased with it.
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:21 PM   #12
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We've had a Nexus 5 (Google) phone about 3 years now. DW carries it around and I have had a flip Trac phone. Then we were on a trip in Italy and I started taking pictures with the Nexus 5. They came out pretty decent even though that phone has a just OK camera. And it is neat to have your pictures automatically backed up with Dropbox. Google maps was a great way to walk around as a tourist in confusing Italian cities.

Anyway, I decided to splurge and get the latest Nexus 6P which just came out 2 weeks ago. It's gotten great reviews and is suppose to have a good camera. It is probably as good as an Iphone 6 Plus and costs less, $500. We use Tmobile and the carrier well internationally too.

Not the cheapest solution but it is pure Android, the latest and not a compromise. There is a new Nexus 5X too. That is cheaper if cost is really a big issue.

I know you are probably not wanting to spend too much Amethyst, but I thought this was worth a mention anyway. I kept reading reviews and getting turned off by the cost and features, so when this Google phone came out I pounced on it. Having fun with it anyway. The Trac phone will be retired.
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobra9777 View Post
I've had a smartphone since 2007. DW since 2010. I can't really imagine life without a smartphone.
Just curious since you mentioned 2007, iPhone early adopter?
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Old 11-05-2015, 09:54 PM   #14
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Question - do you need access on the road while in your car? Or can you get by with wi-fi access at stopping points? Wi-fi is available at many places now.

If wi-fi access is all you need, a laptop or tablet is much easier to do web searching on than a smartphone.

-ERD50
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:29 PM   #15
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I subscribed to Ting while I was traveling last year. Not the best as far as connectivity. Would have been much better off with either Verizon or AT&T. They do have great technical support and a local person that actually answers the phone to talk to you. If you live in an area that has a strong T-Mobile or Sprint, (which I definitely would not recommend for traveling) they can work fine if your in the right area.

The Moto G was a good recommendation as far as phones go, but I don't know of any prepaid that you can buy for it or service than you can purchase month to month for it. Perhaps others do. I know you can buy one that will work with Verizon, or one for Sprint. (forget Sprint for traveling)
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:00 PM   #16
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Smart phones are really much better phones than the dumb ones.
I changed about 2 yrs ago to a smart phone and wonder why I took so long.
When I travel I'll use my smart phone on free wifi and then connect to skype (an app I downloaded) so I can phone other countries for free (I do have a $36/yr skype plan).

Besides that I find the calculator is a blessing, its BIG and natural to use vs a dumb phone clicking various special keys for +-=/ etc.

Also the alarm is nice to not rely on hotel staff, or the crappy hotel alarm clock.

And yes you can check email in a snap vs a laptop.

I personally don't like refurbished things as I was unlucky with one and no recourse.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:02 PM   #17
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The Moto G was a good recommendation as far as phones go, but I don't know of any prepaid that you can buy for it or service than you can purchase month to month for it. Perhaps others do. I know you can buy one that will work with Verizon, or one for Sprint. (forget Sprint for traveling)
Cricket Wireless (AT&T). StraightTalk (you have the option of AT&T or T-Mobile, iirc). Since Ting recently introduced GSM service (using T-Mobile's network), that'll work, too. AirVoice, H2O Wireless, PTEL, lots really. They're all prepaid so you just sign up and if you don't renew/pay for the next month, service is automatically cancelled.

That said, I do like the tablet suggestion although I recommend the LTE model. If all that's needed is mobile data, tablet plans are actually cheaper and you can go with a network that has better coverage (e.g. Verizon).
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:50 PM   #18
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I've had a smartphone since 2002, although being a cheapskate, I haven't always had the latest and greatest. This past couple of years I have been buying used Verizon Motorola smartphones for my family. Why Motorola? Because most of their models are multi-band, multi-mode. They support GSM, they support CDMA, they support LTE, and they support most of the frequencies used in the world, domestic and foreign. Why Verizon? When Verizon acquired a bunch of spectrum in a Federal auction a few years ago, one of the requirements was for all phones used on that spectrum to be unlocked. So all Verizon phones (at least the LTE-capable ones, which is effectively all of their modern smartphones) have been unlocked for the past 3-4 years. That means you can use Verizon Motorola phones with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, most of the domestic MVNOs, and 90% or overseas carriers. Sadly, that list doesn't include Sprint or any of the Sprint MVNOs. So if you buy one of these phones (for example Moto G, Moto X, Droid Maxx, Droid Mini, Droid Turbo) you will be able to switch between about 80% of the carriers in the US (to find the best coverage) and 90% of worldwide carriers when you travel overseas. I've been buying used Droid Maxx in used but almost perfect condition on eBay for less than $150. They have all worked out perfectly (except the one that fell out of my shirt pocket when I bent over to pick up my keys the other day ).
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:50 AM   #19
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We will be spending much time in a property with no WiFi, no phone, no anything. Hence the need for paid service. Will bring a Kindle for surfing when WiFi is available.
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:43 AM   #20
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It sounds like you don't need or want a phone. If you're driving or waking about, the mapping capability may be valuable.

Look at portable WiFi hotspot. If it works well where you're staying, it will light up your kindle, notebook, or tablet with WiFi and you'll be very happy.
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